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Springer Show Not to Your Taste? Try Free Chocolates

April 23, 1998|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — A candy company on Wednesday promised a box of chocolates to television viewers who swear off Jerry Springer's talk show--while admitting that most of its executives have never even seen the program.

Astor Chocolate Corp. is asking viewers to send in their trash, which the company will deliver to producers of Springer's controversial show.

Company marketers looking to promote a new product decided to go after Springer, whose daily slugfest has become the most popular syndicated TV talk show while attracting criticism for its sleazy subjects.

ABC President Robert Iger this month called Springer's show an embarrassment to the television industry and questioned the logic of stations that put him on the air.

"I think the show sells bad taste," said Eric Yaverbaum, spokesman for Astor Chocolate in Glendale, N.Y. Since his company believes it has a product that tastes good, "we think it's a perfect match for us," he said.

The first 1,000 people who respond to the campaign by sending some of their household trash and a signed promise they won't watch Springer will get a free sampler package of chocolates.

Yaverbaum said he's never watched Springer. Neither has Astor's president, Erwin Grunhut. Yaverbaum said he doubted that most other Astor executives have seen the show either.

"We just wanted to give people who don't feel [the show] is a quality program another way to exercise their right to watch or not watch and get something of the highest quality in return," Grunhut said.

Despite the campaign, Yaverbaum said "we're not trying to make a statement about the program."

A spokeswoman for Springer's show called it an interesting marketing technique. "One person's trash is another person's treasure," Linda Shafran said.

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